Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The evils of anti-trust are well-known.  

Anti-trust laws assume that there is a fixed inventory of extant goods and services, that all the widgets and gadgets are like mountains and rivers: they always existed and always will be here. In fact, these are in constant flux, coming into and going out of favor with changing perceptions of utility: 78 RPM records and 5.25-inch floppy disks, just for two. As Larry the Liquidator said, the surest way to go broke is to win an ever larger share of a dying market.

The other expression of that instance is the goods and services that come into existence from invention and entrepreneurship. What did not exist at all suddenly must be regulated, controlled, distributed, monitored and mandated.

The recent prosecutions of LCD display makers is a case in point. A hundred years ago, this was cholesterol from carrot juice. A generation ago, it was a fancy, an applied lab experiment. A decade ago, it was an emerging market. Now, for people to agree among themselves on production and distribution is a crime.

Goto the site and browse all the press releases back to June 2010.

January 13, 2011
Twenty-Two Executives Charged to Date in Global Price-Fixing Scheme
WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned an indictment against the current president of HannStar Display Corporation for his participation in a global conspiracy to fix prices of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, the Department of Justice announced today.
The indictment, filed today in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, charges that Ding Hui Joe, aka David Joe, conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of TFT-LCD panels. Joe, a resident of Taiwan, is charged with participating in the conspiracy from on or about Sept. 14, 2001, until on or about Jan. 31, 2006.
TFT-LCD panels are used in computer monitors and notebooks, televisions, mobile phones and other electronic devices. By the end of the conspiracy period, the worldwide market for TFT-LCD panels was valued at $70 billion. Companies directly affected by the LCD price-fixing conspiracy are some of the largest computer and television manufacturers in the world, including Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard.  
See these related prosecutions.
On the DoJ webpages you can search for the defendants or for TFT-LCD to find the full set of prosecutions and plea agreements.


In the 1960s, a French theoretical physicist, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes, who had been working with magnetism and superconductivity, turned his interest to liquid crystals and soon found fascinating analogies between liquid crystals and superconductors as well as magnetic materials. His work was rewarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics 1991. The modern development of liquid crystal science has since been deeply influenced by the work of Pierre-Gilles de Gennes.

Liquid Gold: The Story of Liquid Crystal Displays and the Creation of an Industry, Joseph A. Castellano, 2005 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., ISBN 981-238-956-3.

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